The Senate Judiciary Committee may be taking the matter of protecting Mueller into their own hands. They are moving forward with legislation to limit the president’s ability to fire the special counsel.
Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wants to add the new bill to the panel’s Thursday business meeting agenda, according to a spokesperson for the senator.
“In order to do that, the Minority would need to assent. Committee rules require such assent within 72 hours of a markup. Grassley has sought that assent, and is waiting to hear back,” said spokesman George Hartmann.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s spokesperson confirmed that Grassley and his staff have reached out about adding the legislation to Thursday’s agenda. Feinstein, from California, is the top Democrat on the committee. When her spokesperson was asked if she had signed off on the bill, he said it was under review and later clarified that they had not yet received a copy of the bill text.
If the bill makes the agenda on Thursday, it could still face significant delays. Under committee rules, any one member can delay a vote on legislation for a week, and several senators on the panel are opposed to the bill.
The legislation is from Sens. Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). It would let Mueller, or any other special counsel, receive an “expedited judicial review” within 10 days of being fired to determine if it was for a “good cause.” If it wasn’t, the special counsel would be reinstated.
The legislation would also codify existing regulations that only a senior Justice Department official can fire a special counsel and the reason for the dismissal must be in writing.
Tillis said that he wasn’t certain the bill would be able to get a vote on Thursday, but it would “certainly” happen “here in the next week.”
If the bill passes through the committee, the next person under pressure would be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky.). He would make the decision on whether the legislation would come for a vote in the Senate. McConnell said on Tuesday that he saw no need for a vote on legislation protecting Mueller because he doesn’t believe Trump will fire him.
Credit: The Hill